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Can a person still get SSDI benefits after returning to work?

Georgia residents confront many difficult personal decisions in their lives, including choices involving their family, career and personal goals. These decisions have many different consequences, as a choice to pursue a particular course of action may impact many areas of the person's life.

This blog has previously discussed some of these issues, including how a person's inability to work, and corresponding choice to go back to work, can impact claims for disability benefits. The federal regulations contain different provisions about how a person's work will impact SSDI claims, making it vital that individuals understand these regulations when they are making important decisions about returning to work.

For example, individuals should understand that they will typically continue to receive their SSDI benefits during the first nine months after they return to work. This is known as a trial work period. After the trial work period concludes, the agency will then decide if the person has been doing substantial gainful activity, which generally corresponds to earning over a certain amount per month. If the person earns over that amount, the SSDI benefits will end.

Individuals may also enter into an extended period of eligibility after completing a trial work period. In this case, during the 36 consecutive months after the trial work period, a person's eligibility to receive a monthly SSDI check is decided on a monthly basis. The person can receive his SSDI payment if he does not make above the substantial gainful activity amount.

Issues involving the trial work period and extended period of eligibility, including how these time periods are calculated, can become very complex. Accordingly, individuals need to know how the rules apply in their individual case to determine whether they will still receive SSDI benefits.

Source: PBS, "Can I return to work and still receive Social Security disability benefits?," Laurence Kotlikoff, Jan. 4, 2016

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